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Blog / Web to Print compatibility with various garments printing techniques and pricing logic
Thursday, March 20, 2014

In the past several years, we have been working with garment printers across the world all using several different printing machinery, different garment decoration and printing techniques with varying pricing strategies. In order to offer them the right web-to-print solution to get their printing business online, it was important to understand how their business runs and then tailor our turnkey solutions to fit their specific business needs.

In this article, I have tried to summarize the hard-earned knowledge from these experiences. I hope that helps newbie’s to find the right web-to-print solution that meets their printing specifications and zero-in on right set of features in the product personalization design tool they wish to offer to their customers to order personalized garments.

DIRECT TO GARMENT (DTG)
DTG Printing

DTG printing machines can print fine water-based ink directly onto t-shirts or sweatshirts using the same inkjet technology as your average office printer.

Ideal choice for: Personalized t-shirts with minimum order of one.

Pros: There are no limitations on how many colors you can print along without any set-up
fees and a very quick turnaround of print jobs. DTG might be the best cost effective option for small to medium runs with complex and full color designs.

Cons: Gives the best print results on white t-shirts. It is a challenge to get dark prints to come out correctly with DTG, but it can be done. Some variation between prints can occur.

Recommended Design Tool Configurations:

  • Display the full color palette for color choices in text and clipart decoration
  • Enable upload image function to let customers upload photos and images
  • Fixed pricing per print with unlimited colors in art work
  • Acceptable print ready output can be a high resolution JPG/PNG file



SCREEN PRINTING
Screen Printing

Screen printing involves creating screens pressed up against cloth to place paint onto shirts one color per screen. It involves creating screens aka stencils, and then using that stencil to apply layers of ink on the printing surface. Each color is applied using a different stencil, one at a time, combined to achieve the final look.

Ideal choice for: Commercial sale and resale t-shirts printing in bulk.

Pros: High quality, ideal for professional artwork printing, produces durable print results, offers brighter colors even on darker shirts, cost effective for large quantity orders (100+). Best for printing artwork with limited color options.

Cons: As each color requires a separate screen, set-up cost is very high and need to print many shirts at once with the same design to be cost effective.

Recommended Design Tool Configurations:

  • Offer limited color options you use for screen printing for text and clipart decoration
  • Set a default price that will increase as a customer adds new colors to the design
  • Remove the upload image function
  • Acceptable print-ready output should be a layer vector PDF or SVG file



VINYL CUTTERS
Vinyl Printing

This method uses vinyl cutter machine to cut out designs on special solid color sheets of vinyl. This vinyl is then removed from its backing sheet and applied to the garment using a heat press. Vinyl is produced in a wide array of colors and is fantastic for simple solid color designs.

Ideal choice for: Custom work wear and uniforms, personalizing names and numbers on sports team kit, on school and university leavers’ hoodies, tours for stag, hen, holidays.

Pros: Good for small orders, produces high quality prints, offers durability, best for simple designs with one or two color options

Cons: As this method involves separating and cutting out each color independently, it doesn’t work well for designs with complex patterns or designs that show a lot of background of the t-shirt inside the design. Not suitable for complex designs and full color printing.

Recommended Design Tool Configurations:

  • Offer color palette with limited color options as per your vinyl stock for text and clipart decoration
  • Fixed pricing per print with limited colors in art work
  • Remove the upload image function
  • Acceptable print-ready output should be a layer vector PDF or SVG file



EMBROIDERY
Embroidery

Different color threads are sewn into the garment by a computer controlled machine to create the desired image. The threads can be applied in various patterns, lengths, and thicknesses to produce an array of different visual effects.

Ideal choice for: Ball caps, polo shirts or jackets with left or right chest designs.

Pros: Produces high quality, offers durability, great for small designs such as company logos, names or web addresses. One time setup cost for custom logos, no further set-up costs for repeat orders.

Cons: As the costing depends on size of the design, it is costly for large designs. Suitable for limited details artwork.

Recommended Design Tool Configurations:

  • Fix the design area as per allowable place (chest, arm) and maximum allowable size
  • Offer option to upload logo/artwork in high resolution format
  • Limit add text feature to add company name or URL with full color palette for text decoration
  • Define price varying with the size of the artwork
  • Remove features like add clipart, upload image function
  • Acceptable print-ready output should be a layer vector PDF or SVG file

If you print garments using one or more of the above techniques, look for a web to print solution that allows you to define different decoration options and pricing with respect to each printing method.

We at Deisgn’N’Buy believe that understanding how printers produce custom t-shirts is the best and only way to make sure that they walk away with a great web-to-print product that generates the right printable artwork as per their printing technique specifications and suitable for their printing machinery.

Feel free to contact us for more personal consultancy on this topic.


CEO and Co-founder at Design'n'Buy.